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National Preparedness Month: Thunderstorm Safety

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

image of severe rains during thunderstorm When a large storm hits, you need food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours.

September is National Preparedness Month! SERVPRO of Mercer County is here to help you be prepared and stay safe during a thunderstorm.

A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles.

When a large storm hits, you need food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Depending on the nature of the disaster, road conditions may prevent help from arriving in a timely manner and you may be without electricity and the capability to travel.

Your basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days or even weeks. Making sure you prepare a supply kit that contains items that will keep you afloat is crucial.

Everyone in your household should be aware of your supply/emergency kit, where it is located, and what is inside. Here are some items that are suggested to keep on hand:

  • Necessary Medications
  • Flashlights for each family member
  • Battery-operated radio and clock
  • Extra batteries
  • Bottled water
  • Canned, freeze-dried, or dehydrated food, powdered milk, baby supplies for infants, pet food
  • Non-electric can opener
  • List of important phone numbers
  • First-aid kit

If you need help during or after a severe thunderstorm, SERVPRO of Mercer County is ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! We are fire and water restoration experts with over 50 years of experience. Take these important storm preparedness steps so you can stay safe any time the weather decides to take a turn for the worst!

Call us if you need our help! (724) 704 8939

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Best Smart Home Devices

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

image of several different smart home devices that can aid in the daily life of homeowners Smart home devices tackle more serious tasks like home security. Before purchasing a device, you should look at the reviews and capabilities.

In 2020, the smart home systems are more impressive and expansive than ever. Alexa can add items to your shopping list, you can turn off the lights in your kitchen while you are in the living room, and have a robot vacuum your floors while you are at work.

Although many of those tasks are very convenient, smart home devices can tackle more serious tasks such as home security. Before purchasing a smart home device, you should research the reviews and integrations. Integrations will tell you how many products you can connect your device to and use in conjunction.

For example, Amazon Alexa will connect to smart thermostats like Nest of Ecobee4 and then you will be able to control the thermostat from any room in the house by speaking to Alexa. Alexa can also close your garage door and lock your doors for you when you leave the house. This eliminates the guessing game of “did I close the garage door?”

Phillips Hue lightbulbs allow you to control both the intensity and color of the light. You can create specific color coordinated moods and color coordinated alarms to ensure you can wake up a bright pink bedroom every morning if that is your wish.

As mentioned before, Ecobee4 is a smart thermostat that enables you to control air temperature with voice commands and has its own Amazon speaker. You can control the room you are in, not just the room it is installed in.

Lastly, Netgear Arlo Q is a useful tool for home security. It records high quality video when you are not home and can even produce clear images of people in pitch black darkness. You can set it to record at specific times and offers seven days of video and audio backup for free.

SERVPRO of Mercer County always wants you to stay safe and prepared. We are happy to help and support our local communities. If your home or business incurs water or fire damage, or mold – call our highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Mercer County.

Call us today! (724) 704 8939

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10 Tips to Prepare for the Fall Season

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

image of home during a visible fall season with the leaves on the trees orange and brown To help keep small issues from turning into bigger disasters, inspect your roof using binoculars, to check for damaged or missing shingles.

Coolers days, crisp air, and changing colors make fall a fan favorite when it comes to the changing seasons in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. While you are out leaf peeping, enjoying apple cider and donuts, and picking pumpkins, your home will also need some attention to ensure it's ready for the cold weather on the horizon. The weather can change quickly, and a bit of preparation now could save you from aggregation and costly repairs later.

Below are 10 tips for you to consider when preparing your home for fall.

  1. Reprogram the thermostat

Keep the house warm when people are active, but do not be afraid to lower the temperature when the family is sleeping or at work/school for the day.

  1. Remove air conditioner(s)

If you do not have the luxury of central air conditioning, be sure to remove any window units you placed in the windows over the hot summer. This will eliminate the cooler air from entering your home, causing your heating source to work harder.

  1. Close the pool

If you have a pool and close it when the temperature drops, schedule a service or if you are handy, buy the supplies and do it yourself.

  1. Clean your furnace and replace the filters

Check your furnace for soot, and pilot light health. This is also a great time to switch out your filters; clean air is important when the house is closed for winter.

  1. Inspect your fireplace and have it cleaned

If you have a fireplace and plan on using it as the weather turns colder, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.

  1. Insulate your pipes for the winter

As temperatures drop below freezing, standing water in your pipes can start to freeze. By adding foam covers you can help insulate and protect your pipes.

  1. Clean and prepare your outdoor furniture

Clean and store seasonal outdoor furniture in a safe place. Cover with a tarp to protect it from snow, ice, and cold. If you have removable cushions, consider storing them indoors to help them last longer.

  1. Check your water heater

Your water heater has a lot of work to do in fall and winter. If you have not inspected your water heater lately, it may be time to clean it out or have it serviced. Overtime, it can get loaded with sediment, or other problems may arise that reduce its efficiency.

  1. Inspect your rook for leaks

There is nothing worse for a homeowner than a leaking roof. To help keep small issues from turning into bigger disasters, inspect your roof using binoculars, to check for damaged or missing shingles. Also make sure your gutters are flowing freely of sticks and leaves.

  1. Turn off outdoor faucets and store hoses

Disconnect and drain any outside hoses you have used over the spring/summer to water gardens and lawns. Shut off exterior faucets to help prevent frozen pipes if a deep freeze were to occur in your area.

If you need help preparing your home for fall, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County! We specialize in repairing and restoring fire and water damage. But we also can clean air ducts, repair roofs, and offer quality construction services.

Call us today if you need our help! (724) 704 8939

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Who’s Responsible for Water Damage? Tenants or Landlords?

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

image of landlord handing over keys to a home to tenants In general, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property, so it is habitable and functioning up to code.

Unfortunately, water damage is a common problem for homeowners and renters alike. When water damage occurs, it is important to know who is responsible for the damage cost. The tenant or the landlord?

Water damage can be very unpredictable. In general, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property, so it is habitable and functioning up to code. In some cases, the landlord may refuse to address issues in a timely manner or at all. This can lead to bigger problems such as mold.

Review Your Lease

It is important to know the details of your lease especially regarding property damage. For example, if the water damage is severe and the home or apartment is inhabitable, is the tenant still expected to pay rent?

Landlord Responsibilities

Basic plumbing and upkeep such as sinks, toilets, and tubs is usually the responsibility of the landlord. If the landlord, refuses to repair these functions, they may be liable for negligence.

Water damage to the building itself such as the floors, walls, or utilities should be covered under the landlord’s insurance.

Tenant Responsibilities

Personal property damage may fall under the responsibility of the tenant. For example, if the tenant leaves a faucet on and falls asleep, they will probably be responsible for the damage.

Water damage requires a fast response to minimize damage. SERVPRO of Mercer County is ready to help. We are water restoration experts and will have your home looking “Like it never even happened.”

Give us a call if you need help! (724) 704 8939

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How to Stop a Beeping Smoke Alarm

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

Chirping smoke alarm A properly functioning smoke alarm is crucial in keeping you and your family safe in case of a fire!

A smoke alarm that is beeping when there is no fire or smoke requires maintenance. Otherwise, you will be stuck with it beeping for hours on end..like Phoebe in Friends

The specific steps to reset your smoke alarm or change the batteries depends on the alarm design. Here are three ways to determine what is wrong with your smoke alarm and ensure it is working properly.

  1. Reset and Clean the Alarm: If you are using an alarm powered by a nine-volt battery, detach the unit from the mounting bracket and remove the battery.

On a 10-year model with a lithium battery, press and hold down the reset button.

If the alarm is hardwired, turn off the power supply at the circuit breaker, detach the detector and disconnect the power supply. Press and hold the test button for 15-20 seconds.

You can also use an air blower to clean out the vents prior to reinstalling the alarm.

  1. Change the Batteries: If the smoke alarm is powered by replaceable batteries and starts beeping again, you probably need to change the battery. It is recommended that you change the batteries every six months to one year.
  1. Deactivate and Replace the Alarm: If the alarm is still beeping after cleaning it and replacing the battery, you may just need to replace it. Remove the batteries before purchasing and installing another alarm unit.

For the 10-year model, you will need to disconnect the alarm, and use a screwdriver to the straight line next to the arrow on the back. Turn the screw to the off position to permanently deactivate the model and drain the battery.

A functioning smoke alarm is crucial in keeping you and your family safe in case of a fire. If a fire does break out and you need help, SERVPRO of Mercer County is ready. We are fire and water mitigation experts. 24 hours day, 7 days a week, we are ready to serve you!

Call us if you need our help! (724) 704 8939

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SERVPRO Presents: Water Damage Trivia

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO workers cleaning water damage If you need help with water damage, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County!

SERVPRO of Mercer County challenges you to some water damage trivia! How many questions can you honestly say you knew before reading this blog? As they say, knowledge is power. 

Did you know?

A 1/4-inch supply line from the Ice Maker, with normal household pressure, can pump 1/2 to 1 gallon of water per minute.  That is 700-1,400 gallons of water running through the kitchen in a 24-hour period.

Did you know?

A 3/8-inch supply line to a toilet can pump 2 to 3 gallons of water per minute with normal household pressure.  In a 24-hour period, that could be 3,000-4,000 gallons of water flowing through the home.  Hopefully not an upstairs toilet!

Did you know?

A 5/8-inch hose from a washing machine can pump 10-12 gallons per minute, or 14,000-17,000 gallons in a 24-hour period.  That is the size of an 18'x4' round swimming pool.

Did you know?

A faucet leaking at the rate of one drip per second can waste over 3,000 dollars in one year.

Did you know?

93% of water damage is preventable. 40% of homeowners have experienced water loss. 20% of all insurance claims are water related.

Have you recently experienced water damage? Do you want more information on steps to prevent water damage? Call SERVPRO of Mercer County today! (724) 704 8939

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How Did Those Spider Webs Get There?

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

Two SERVPRO workers cleaning up fire damage If you have fire, smoke, or soot damage, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Mercer County!

After a fire, no matter the size, customers will sometimes find a collection of what look like spider webs on their ceilings and walls. What follows is usually some confusion and embarrassment as to how they got there and did not notice them before.

The good news for them is that the “spider webs” are not actually spiders webs at all and not a reflection of their cleaning abilities. The “spider webs” are actually called “soot tags.”

During a fire, smoke and soot circulate throughout the house and the heat will try to move toward cooler air to equalize the temperature. In areas with less circulation, like ceilings, and corners the soot tags can begin to form. Soot tags are just chains of dirt that accumulate in areas with low circulation.

Even after dusting them off, they can reoccur immediately or over time. Avoid spraying the tags with water or getting them wet and wiping them as it will just smear them and stain.

The best way to combat soot tags is to call SERVPRO of Mercer County. We will come in and professionally clean and restore any of your belongings that were damaged in the fire.

If you need our help, give us a call! (724) 704 8939

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Power Strip Safety Tips

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

Power Strip with small flame SERVPRO recommends following our safety tips when using power strips and surge protectors so you don't have an electrical fire on your hands!

What would we do without our power strips in 2020? So many different things need plugged in, there is no way the contractors installed enough outlets in one room. From hair styling tools, TV’s, and phone chargers, to cooking equipment, light fixtures, and gaming systems, it is safe to assume that if a power strip has 10 outlets, you can use all 10 correct? Not exactly!

Most people probably don’t give much thought to how many appliances are plugged in at once. Unfortunately, about 4,600 house fires are started every year as a result of overused power strips and extension cords.

Power Strip versus Surge Protector

  • A power strip and surge protector look relatively similar. They are skinny, rectangular, plastic boxes with multiple outlets for you to plug things in. This is what makes it super easy to confuse the two when in the mass chaos of Walmart.
  • Surge protectors may be a bit more expensive and have additional lights near the power button that light up when plugged in. Additionally, they usually have internal components that help prevent spikes and surges in power that can ruin your devices.

A common misconception about surge protectors is that they protect against lightning. Unfortunately, this is not true. Lightning is much too powerful; a surge protector doesn’t stand a chance.

Some simple safety tips:

  • Never plug in a major appliance to power strips or surge protectors. Space heaters, dehumidifiers, and other major appliances should be plugged directly into the wall.
  • Never use power strips or extension cords in a bathroom or on the kitchen countertop
  • When shopping, don’t just look at the price tag. Make sure you are getting the correct item for your needs.
  • Never try to make a room prettier by covering up cords with a rug. This can be a serious fire hazard.
  • Use power strips sparingly. They are not designed to maintain a high load for extended periods of time.

If you find yourself needing help after a house fire, SERVPRO of Mercer County is ready to help! We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will treat your home and family with respect, empathy, and care.

Have questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call us at (724) 704 8939

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Summer Grilling Safety in Sharpsville, PA

7/21/2020 (Permalink)

Man grilling SERVPRO of East Mahoning County wants you to stay as safe as possible this summer and we urge you to follow our safety tips!

Summer is prime season for outdoor picnics, grilling, campfires, and BBQ’s with friends and family. With many of the fun summer activities comes the risk of fire related injuries and damage.

The US Fire Administration on Grilling Fire Safety has a few safety tips to keep you and your family safe:

  •  Only use your grill outside
  • Keep grill at least 3 feet from siding, deck rails and eaves
  • Clean your grill after each use to remove grease build up that could start a fire
  • Open your gas grill before lighting
  • Keep a 3-foot safe zone around your grill for children and pets
  • Place coals from your grill in a metal can with lid after they have cooled
  • Always keep watch over your grill, fire pit and patio torches. Do not walk away from them while they are lit
  • Use long handled BBQ tools
  • Wear short sleeves or roll up long sleeves during cooking and do not wear loose fitting clothing that could catch on fire

As always, SERVPRO of Mercer County wants you to stay safe this summer! If you do experience fire, smoke, or soot damage, do not hesitate to call us. SERVPRO of Mercer County provides an immediate response and emergency clean-up services.

If you have any questions about these tips or need help – give us a call (724) 704 8939

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned - A Defensive Cleaning Program

6/25/2020 (Permalink)

Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned,but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of Mercer County today at  [724-704-8939] for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.